Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Reminder That Not All People Suck

Early morning and late night are the times my writing flows the easiest. I can only guess that it’s because my thoughts are most pure and at peace during these moments, unburdened by the daily anxieties my head puts me through.

Sometimes, my mood will carry like this throughout the day as if I am simply immune to life’s worries. It’s not the bitterness of apathy or the numbness of a heart heavy with hurt – it’s simply my mind at rest and pure happiness. For me, a quiet mind is pure bliss.

I found myself in a serving state like this last night, even though I didn’t feel that way from the beginning. I was as lethargic as ever when I walked through the door, no thoughts of riding a unicorn into the serving sunset, that last anticipated refill floating into the patiently awaiting guest’s hand. It wasn’t my usual two lines of cocaine, hyperactive movement or any table in particular that sent me into serving euphoria.

From the time I began my first table, it was as if I was the serving witch conjured spells of good attitude and tips on me. My cheeks were as rosy as Santa’s and my voice annoyingly chipper as I greeted my first victims. They took well to my cheery sarcasm and left me with a 50% tip as proof of their appreciation. The next few tables went flawlessly, leaving me no less than 20% no matter how big or small the tab. I wasn’t quite sure where this alternate personality was coming from, but I certainly wasn’t going to complain about the money she was earning me. Although, I was a little pissed she was just rearing her head after five years of annoyed serving prior to this moment.

Even through almost having four waters dumped on me because some idiot walked through the out door the wrong way (it’s one of my biggest pet peeves when people can’t follow simple directions and cause chaos because of their lack of common sense) and being given a table born to complain, I seemed to be on some eerie version of Cloud 9 where irritation registered but vanished every time I came within a five foot range of a guest.

It wasn’t until I spilled water trying to clean a table that I all of a sudden felt as if the water had been thrown on my face rather than on the floor. I was embarrassed, peaking around like a guilty five-year-old to see who had if anyone had noticed the spill (which is equally as odd because I seldom get embarrassed). Because the glass had only dumped the water, there had been no shattering so no attention was paid to my mess – or so I thought until I heard the couple to the right of me snickering. Pretty sure that they had just seen me stop to check if anyone was looking; I couldn’t help but give them a sheepish grin. After all, it was just a spill.

Nonchalance settled back on my shoulders and I play-fought with them about laughing at me. Not sure what caused me drawn to talk to them, but I suddenly found myself wanting to know them more (my goodness, I sound like a pedophile).  I asked basic questions: how often they come here, where they’re from, do they serve (I know this is serve-ist of me, but I always assume nice people are in the service industry as well), what do they do since they don’t serve, etc.

Maybe it was their witty banter in response to my dry sarcasm, but I found myself suddenly wanting to write about this fantastic, entertaining couple in my blog. And not only did I want to write about them, I wanted to tell them about it.

I’m not much of a serious bragger; don’t get me wrong, I think I’m pretty awesome. But seldom do I compliment myself out of sincerity (read enough self-help books to know the importance of self-recognition, hasn’t really changed my perspective on the matter) let alone advertise my writing outside of the online marketing world. When people ask, I am happy to offer answers. But I’m the worst self-advertiser out of fear they will think my writing is bad.

So my only conclusion to draw from this was that this couple, Manuel and Ashley, had exerted such a force of unexplained empathy and easy-goingness that seemed to ease me into the confidence I needed to tell them about my blog. From this, I want them to draw the knowledge of how great of an aura they give off whether it be as individuals or together, the two of them shine inspiration that would make miserable people puke (“Why the fuck are they are so happy?”).

With this uncanny good mood and connection with the couple, I tried to find an explanation for the desire and uncharacteristic risk-taking. It could have been because Manuel ordered my current favorite beer. It might have been the guilt I felt about their obnoxious understanding after my faux apology for them having to sit at a dirty table (I had just been complaining about guests sitting at dirty tables before I went to clean it off for them to a co-worker). It could have been their genuine worry that I would write about some tiff they thought I heard when I asking their permission to mention them in my blog.

Or it could just be great people spreading good vibes that reminded me failure is always going to be waiting around the corner if I never try to succeed. I took a minute to stop over-analyzing and took a chance.

Whether their interest was genuine or not, I shared my blog with two other tables that night due to their positive response in my mentioning it. Kat and Tim, two of the most perverted people I’ve ever met, (that’s saying a lot) left with my URL as well with demands that I write about them. They deserve their own post, so I’ll save your story for another time you two.

And one of my regulars (I call her mine because she likes me the most, let’s be real) I got hooked on my favorite beer also left with it, who I came to find out is also a writer.

Thanks for being such an inspiration, Manuel & Ashley!

And even though I should probably head to the doctor to ask about my bipolar trip from shame to euphoria and from euphoria to anger and back to euphoria from last night, I think I’ll just share my experiences instead. This way you can remind yourself to be human, laugh at all my stupidity and be inspired by my conquering evil abilities.

And this is a reminder for all you servers what great people we can meet. Yes, yes, …yes. There are an abundance of fucktards that are going to walk through your restaurant doors every day that are unavoidable and need to be vented about. The Bitchy Waiter is an excellent place to find solace in your serving pain (my own version of Chicken Soup for the Serving Soul). But don’t use them as an excuse to be miserable, make the best of what you’re given. It’s all you’ve got.

The Serving Doctor

How To Get a Fan Club While You Serve

Something they don’t tell you about when you’re filling out the application, sitting through orientation and going through training is about the fan club you can get while serving. But don’t worry, I’m here to share the secret.

One of the hidden perks of serving is the fan club you can build. These members of your fan club are commonly referred to as “regulars.”

Regulars are easily one of the best parts of serving. They make you feel special by asking to sit in your section, ask about your life, and consistently leave 20%. You could even go as far to say that they make you feel like a mini-celebrity.

I have one couple that followed me from the last restaurant I worked for. They still text me every weekend to ask me when I’m working just so they can come see me. When they come in they immediately question me like a pack of eager paparazzi (“So this is what being a Kardashian feels like!”). If I ever direct the conversation to ask them how they’re doing, they give me curt “everything’s fine!” and ask me more about my last trip to Vegas.

I recently developed another regular at the local bar I work at. She always wants to hear all about how I’m doing and rains more compliments on me than I can count on both hands. She reminds me every time she sees me how sweet I am, just for treating her like a human being. She genuinely makes me wonder, “Why don’t all people think I’m this great?” (This is one is still in debate by philosophers.) She loves gossiping with me, comments every time someone is rude to me and consistently leaves a 50% tip.

Essentially, regulars are your own fan club. This is a group of people that seek you out, give you an unnecessarily large sum of money for being you and sincerely adore you.

Obviously, this development doesn’t happen overnight. It takes some kissing ass, stellar talent, and a charming personality.

Kissing ass is step number one. The thing about people is they love to feel as though the only person at your bar/in your section that matters. People are well aware they are not the only people in your care, but going out to eat is often an experience for them. It’s your job to make them feel like they are the only people in your section. Whether it is for business or pleasure, people like to know that you’re sincerely concerned about their well-being. Acknowledge their needs efficiently (whether you’re faking it or not) – they’ll notice.

Once you’ve secured their attention as a guest, use your stellar talent to keep them coming back for more (even if they don’t love the food). Memorize the order, name, and drink – again, they’ll notice. I like to refer to this as stellar talent because only good servers recognize potential regulars and know how to woo them. Gaining regulars is like dating – super awkward and uncomfortable until you get to know the person. The more you know about them, the more you learn about the right and wrong buttons to press in order to gain affection and loyalty.

In the midst of your kissing ass and stellar talent being put to work, you need to top it off with a little bit of charming personality. Just be yourself with a sprinkle of confidence. A little bit of you will clarify your sincerity and keep them entertained; confidence in your serving will help you gauge appropriate times for banter, curious questions, and overall integration of your personality (if you’re anything like me you need a filter).

Then you’re in! Fan club status initiated.
What kind of awesome things does your fan club do?

The Serving Doctor

The Serving Doctor

Dear Readers,

Sometimes, great ideas are born; other times, we have to reach to dark and desperate places, grasping for ideas. If you couldn’t tell, I was the latter when trying to come up with a blog name.

Before I launch into it, let me tell you that putting this blog together has been a process. With anxiety breathing down my neck, I have been both excited and frustrated with my progress. I’ve only had this blog a few months and it’s changed my perspective on serving, bartending, & my guests. I am learning with you guys – because I’m not actually Superfuckingawesome Serverwoman. I am human; I get frustrated, get bad feedback on tables, throw fits about drink and food times, and certainly don’t always set a good example. And sometimes, my writing is completely useless to you.

So through the evolution of my blog and myself, I have finally come up with a name for the blog that won’t leave you feeling confused about its actual purpose. This blog is about my stories and adventures for you to learn from as I have, because I’m tired of being a miserable server.

Only a few things will change, mostly how I reference myself. The name of the blog here, on the Facebook & twitter page and the e-mail address you can contact me at. If you have any questions or feedback, I am open-minded and ready for your criticism!

Good riddance to improvements & future posts!

The Serving Doctor

How I Developed Patience via Serving

My favorite gaming company just put out a new video game this week that has me pretty distracted from reality – Diablo 3. Because I am a super nerd, I made sure I had the day off the day the game came out. After all, I needed ample time to feed my gaming addiction.

When I got my schedule for this week, I was pretty stoked to see the day after the game came out I was working a quick in-and-out shift. I would be there 3 hours at max, maybe leave $50-60 bucks richer and go about my merry-gaming way.

I was, of course, disappointed to find that we actually had a little business, but quickly turned my attitude around reminding myself that money is money. Can’t complain about walking with a large amount of tips, right?

As always, I wasn’t actually in my assigned station (refer to “Dear Co-workers”). I came into a station that was half occupied. I found myself growing more and more irritated with my evening since I was not getting my way; not only was I not getting my way, but it looked like I was going to be twiddling my thumbs for most of the evening.

I only have two major pet peeves in our industry: being bored and when “co-workers” fuck with my money. Seeing that I was going to be the restaurant’s bitch for the evening just pissed me off further. I’d rather be home casting spells and killing monsters to avenge Deckard Cain’s death!

I made myself busy: helping co-workers, running food, re-stocking, etc. I kept entertained with the usual busy work to pass the time. I saw peoples’ sections filling up while I only had a couple of tables. We were on a wait and I had a party of three whom, while very pleasant and friendly, were campers and another grouchy regular who thought she knew the menu better than I did.

My station happened to be right next to the patio, and I had been taken from patio to come inside with the assumption I would still be picking up patio tables. I am Superfuckingawesome Serverwoman, after all.

The patio started to get slammed since it was such a nice day. I was running smoothly until one of our bussers accidently tipped my tray just the slightest that dumped my four glasses of water, strawberry lemonade and milk all over my black apron and white shirt. It looked like a cross between a bad attempt to dye my shirt pink and like someone had unloaded all over my apron. Initially irritated and wanting to yell at him, I went about retrieving more refills knowing this would put me behind.

With some help after the spill, I caught up and got back into the groove. Superfuckingawesome Serverwoman was back in business, even if I smelled like an army of infants had just thrown up on me.

About this time, I had gotten sat with a party of two on the patio. I still had the campers inside and one other table. No biggie, I mentally coached myself, I only have a few tables indoors. I greeted the party of two quickly, noticing that the hostesses and manager were trying to figure out how to fit a party of fourteen out there.

I walked to the table, prepared to run through my opening spiel. I gave my icebreaker “How are you?” and immediately was greeted with a slow, movie-dramatic eye shift. The glare apparent on her face, she informed me they would need a minute before I could even get my name out. I nodded with a sincere “no problem” and turned to walk away. She put her hand up to grab my attention as I turned and gave a rude, “Wait, wait, we need some drinks.”

You just asked for a minute, you dumb bitch. Instead of retaliating, I launched into robotic and artificial enthusiastic offerings of our season cocktails and beers. She was extremely displeased with this, and informed me she wanted seven-up. When I let her know we had Sierra Mist, she looked even more put out. I wanted to look up and check if the sky was crumbling, but alas, it was still there.

She thought for a good minute (literally, they had time to seat the whole party and drop menus before she decided) and informed me should would like some of that stuff that turns the drink sweet. Wow. Apparently, soda isn’t sweet enough for her. My telepathy seemed to be broken so I gave her my most innocent confused face to which she responded, “You know, that stuff. (extremely concentrated pause) I think it’s red.”

I couldn’t help but smirk, trying not to openly mock her, and ask, “Grenadine?”

“Yeah, that stuff that makes the drink red and sweet,” she repeated.

The rest of the order went like that: looking pissed if I made suggestions, upset if I didn’t read her mind, and her husband egging her on the whole time.

What felt like an eternity later, I had their whole order down and was about to walk away when she informed me she had one last question: “Is there anyone who can go to my car to get my jacket?”

I laughed out loud, unable to help myself. Giving her a smug “Nope!” I quickly walked away before she could ask me any more ridiculous questions.

I greeted the party of fourteen after delivering the Shirley Temples and was pleasantly surprised by how polite, patient, and entertaining they were. After dealing with psycho, self-absorbed bitch, I probably would have been happy even if the party had been a bunch of pre-teens.

For the next half hour I was busy with drink and food orders, occasionally checking on my campers and the “charming” couple. Things were flying by smoothly; the miserable couple seemed to chipper up after their food was delivered.

Just as they were becoming bearable, though, they had to make sure to finish off the night with one last misery-filled complaint.

I had just delivered all the bar drinks to the large party when I had forgotten that she had asked for a small supply of things for their meal (ranch for her portion of the salad that she was sharing with her husband, more alfredo sauce, more dressing for the husband, butter)  probably a good 5-7 minutes ago. For those of you that work in the business, you know this is probably enough time for her to already have finished the meal. Once realizing all that I had forgotten, my heart plummeted.

I approached their table cautiously, asking if everything was okay. She does another slow, dramatic eye-shift from her food to me and launches into a tirade, “Excuse me, my meal is just about done! Where is all that stuff I asked for!? What did I even ask you for?”

I immediately apologized and began listing off the things she wanted, but she cut me off before I could finish with the perfect amount of you’re my slave tone, bitchiness and pure hatred for life, “I’m still waiting.” The look on her face was perfectly straight and expectant that I make all of the things she wanted appear in my hand with only two bites of her meal left.

I went on the rest of the night baffled by her statement. I’ve met some pretty horrid people in my time, but never someone who blatantly, to my face, disrespects me as a person. I understand her frustration; she practically finished her meal in the time it took for me to return to even check on her. I take full responsibility for my shitty serving moment.

But to treat me as less than a human who makes mistakes? I was, for once, silenced. I just looked at her, dumbfounded. And then of course, I laughed.

And the rest, well it hardly matters.

You could get mad. You could get pissed off. You could spit in her food. You could grab her by her weave and slam her face in between the door and its stopper like I thought about doing. But the simple fact is she will get no greater satisfaction out of you than your reaction, no matter how big or small. And I had no greater satisfaction than letting her know she had no power over me.

Serving has taught me an incredible amount of patience because I’ve seen the worst of the worst, as many of you have. I’ve used life’s waste of space to develop a sense of being “the bigger person.” Don’t get me wrong, I get tired of it – as every server should and will. But nine times out of ten, it’s not worth arguing with them.

If I had gotten upset, it would have effected the rest of my night. It would have effected the way I served my other tables, which in turns hurts my money. My focus is always the bigger picture – it helps to keep things in perspective.

Plus, it makes for awesome stories to tell your friends who aren’t servers about all the awful things other people do so they tip better.

I’m off to slay more dragons.
Good luck in your next horrid adventure, tell me if you have any success stories; I would love to hear them!

From One Dreamer to Another

So when I began this blog, I really had no idea what I wanted from it. I tossed around the ideas of telling stories about my tables, strictly sticking to a counseling blog, maybe just stick to my old one that I would write in every once in a while. Basically, I was clueless.

A couple months in I still can’t say I have it all figured out, but I do have more an idea of what I’m doing now (even it’s a vague idea). Before all my posts, I still get a little bit of anxiety. I wonder if I phrase things correctly or if people will like what I write.  

One of my biggest fears was lacking originality, so I searched high and low for blogs similar to mine.

I found quite a few under the restaurant category, but they all left a sour taste in my mouth. I already knew that servers hated their job; I didn’t need blog after blog telling me how awful it was. It wasn’t until I ran across The Real Barman that I found myself intrigued. Dripping with an enthusiasm for dry humor and writing, I read his post Drunk Talk of the Week: Presidential Candidates. I was hooked. I scanned the rest of the blog vaguely, stopping when I saw something that caught my eye before deciding to subscribe.

I often get shit from my boyfriend for never laughing during funny parts on movies. But this blog had me laughing out loud and itching to read more. After a couple weeks, I decided to reach out to him and ask for a link exchange. I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked or what the proper etiquette for doing a link exchange was, but he was extremely polite and supportive with the following advice:

Hi Morkee. Thanks for the kind remarks. Sure, let’s do it. I’ll go ahead and put your link up by tomorrow in my blog roll. I’ll check you out every so often and see how you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to blog about stuff outside the serving world once in awhile. Be personable and let people know who you are. People like that. Good luck.

The RB

No matter the size of the gesture, his kindness gave me a bit of reassurance. I don’t know if he reads my blog or ever will; frankly, it does not matter. The gesture reminds me that there are still down-to-earth people that don’t have their noses too high in the clouds. So here’s to you, TRB. 

And for the rest of you fulfilling dreams out there (writing or not), here’s to you. Keep going after your dreams; no one but you can make them happen.

A Serving Guide for Mom’s on Mother’s Day

I know that there are plenty of mothers in our business (probably many that wish they had the day off) that I have to commend for being full time parents and servers. Not only do they deal with their own hellions, they come to work to help babysit others’. Out of respect, I don’t request time off for holidays such as this and neither should other non-moms. As for the moms that do work this day, I have written a short list of things to make your day just a little more bearable!

  1. Invite your family to come sit in your section.
  2. Treat yourself to your favorite shift meal.
  3. Enjoy the camaraderie of motherhood with other mothers at your table! You will often leave with a bigger tip; this is an easy chance to practice being personable.
  4. Spend the morning/evening with your children! Plan a small breakfast, mini-golfing, bowling, etc. that will allow for a little enjoyment before or after your shift.

If you have a mom in the business, make sure you take care of her. I also wrote a small list of things for you!

  1. Surprise her by sitting in her section, nothing like seeing your family on a hectic work night. But don’t dawdle for too long, she still wants to make money.
  2. Do something special for her before or after the shift.
  3. Surprise her with her favorite flowers while she is working, [most] women love small gestures and they love when they get to show them off to their co-workers/friends around them (“look at what my family did for me.”).

Now I’m off to take care of my own mother.
Happy Mother’s day mommas!

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